NHS Lanarkshire is leading the way on stroke care in Scotland with an innovative training programme.
The health board became the first in the country to adopt a new approach to stroke training, available to all staff working with people affected by a stroke.
NHS Lanarkshire's Stroke Managed Clinical Network (MCN) recognised the need to provide a ‘stroke education pathway’ offering stroke specific education and training opportunities for staff.
Fiona Morrison, from Ayrshire, was duly appointed as the stroke practice development facilitator, in what is a partnership post with Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland (CHSS), NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Education Scotland, which published the Stroke Core Competencies for Healthcare Staff in 2005.
Stroke is the third commonest cause of death and the most frequent cause of adult disability in Scotland.
Fiona said: “This course will raise awareness of the impact of strokes and give staff the knowledge, skills and
confidence to help people cope with their condition and maximise their potential.
“In addition to ensuring patients receive the best possible care, this approach helps with the professional development of staff."
Fiona continued: “CHSS offers stroke training programmes in partnership with six other health board areas across Scotland.
"However, this new two-year pilot differs to more traditional training approaches.
“After completing a two-day classroom-based course, the development of staff is supported through use of a Stroke Competency Toolkit (SCoT).”
SCoT has been developed within NHS Lanarkshire and is aligned to the health and wellbeing dimensions of the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF) personal development plan.
Fiona added: “The toolkit will assist all levels of staff to complete a unique and individual portfolio of evidence to support ongoing development of their practice.”
The course covers various topics, including what a stroke is, the effect of a stroke on a person, local stroke services and how they are structured, and swallowing difficulties.
It also has workshops where staff can experience some of the effects of stroke.
The special glasses, for example, allow students on the course to experience what it is like to have a visual field disturbance following a stroke.
Advanced study days which focus on specific aspects of stroke care in more detail will be offered throughout the year to support staff who want to develop further in stroke care.
Details can be found on the Lanarkshire training pages at www.chss.org.uk